Kentucky Makes 50th Appearance in NCAA Tournament

March 14, 2010

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After claiming its 26th Southeastern Conference Tournament title and posting its NCAA record 12th 30-win season, the University of Kentucky men's basketball team (32-2) will make its NCAA-leading 50th appearance in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the East Region, it was announced Sunday night. Kentucky will play East Tennessee State (20-14) Thursday, March 18 at 6;15 P.M. CST in New Orleans, La.

Kentucky has never played East Tennessee State in the NCAA Tournament, but the Wildcats hold a 2-0 all-time record against the Buccaneers with the last game being played in 1984, a 62-57 win in Lexington. ETSU won the 2010 Atlantic Sun Championship to claim its ninth NCAA Tournament appearance. UK is 7-3 all-time against Atlantic Sun teams.

The No. 1 seed is the 10th in school history for the Wildcats, who will play their first and second round games in New Orleans, La. The game with the Bucs will mark the sixth time the Wildcats have played a NCAA Tournament game in New Orleans, with UK holding a 3-2 record in past tournaments. The Wildcats last played a NCAA Tournament game in New Orleans in 1999, a 92-88 overtime victory over sixth-seeded Kansas in the second round.

If UK prevails over East Tennessee State, it will face the winner of eighth-seeded Texas (24-9) and ninth-seeded Wake Forest (19-10) on Saturday, March 20. The Longhorns and Demon Deacons faceoff 30 minutes following the ending of UK and ETSU in the first round on Thursday.

Texas will be making its 28th tournament appearance where it holds a 33-30 all-time record in the Big Dance. Last year, the seventh-seeded Longhorns lost in the second round to second-seeded Duke. Texas received one vote in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll released Sunday night, but did not crack the top 25.

The Demon Deacons will be making their 22nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament after being a No. 4 seed last year. The Deacons run in the tournament was cut short last year, losing in the first round to 13th-seeded Cleveland State. Wake Forest holds a 27-21 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament with 10 Sweet Sixteen, seven Elite Eights and one Final Four appearance. Wake Forest finished fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kentucky has never played the Longhorns in the NCAA Tournament but hold a 1-0 all-time record against Texas, winning 86-61 in the 1993 Maui Invitational. UK has also never lost to Wake Forest, boasting a 4-0 record. The Wildcats and Demon Deacons have played two games in the NCAA Tournament, a 103-69 victory in the Sweet Sixteen in 1993 and an 83-63 win in 1996 to advance to the Final Four. The 1996 meeting was the last meeting between the two schools. The first meeting between the two programs was a 1953 UK win in Lexington.

If the Wildcats advance past the first and second rounds, they will play in Syracuse, N.Y in the East Regional Semifinals on March 25. If UK continues to win, it will play in the East Regional Finals on March 27 with a victory moving the Wildcats to the National Semifinals on April 3. The National Championship game is scheduled for April 5.

UK, ETSU, Texas and Wake Forest will join four teams from the 2010 NCAA Tournament's South Region in New Orleans for the first and second round, including sixth-seeded Notre Dame, 11th-seeded Old Dominion, third-seeded Baylor and 14th-seeded Sam Houston State.

Tickets for first and second round games in New Orleans are still available online at ticketmaster.com or available through the host site. Those wishing to purchase tickets that are not season-ticket holders or donors need to call the host site for ticket information.

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